A year ago, Itumeleng Khune played through a diarrhoea scare in Ouagadougou as Bafana Bafana held Burkina Faso to a crucial 1-1 draw in their opening World Cup qualifier.
Now the first choice Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana goalie is prepared to play with an injured shoulder when South Africa host the Burkinabe in their return match at FNB Stadium this weekend.
“Yes, I’m struggling with a shoulder injury. I overstretched it against Wits,” said Khune.
“But the medical teams have been looking after me. I’ve got a great team helping me prepare. I’ll be fine for the match.”
Bafana have to win, by hook or by crook, against the West Africans to keep their Russia 2018 dream alive.
Two back-to-back defeats to lowly Cape Verde plunged them to the bottom of Group D where they now sit with a single point after three games.
Khune withdrew from those two qualifiers due to ill health, and he recently suffered a sore neck after he fell heavily on his head in a league encounter against Golden Arrows.
But with the 30-year-old in the starting line-up, half of Stuart Baxter’s problems could be solved as his team teeter on the brink of missing out on yet another football showpiece.
Khune, the most capped Bafana goalkeeper, took part in yesterday’s morning training session at FNB Stadium, showing no signs of discomfort.
“I’ve been struggling with a lot of injuries lately, but it’s all up to me to prepare mentally,” Khune said.
“I’ve been playing with injuries since I started playing football.
“I’ve played so many games for my club and country and I don’t get enough rest. But it’s my job and I can’t complain. It’s an important match. I can’t blame the fans for being harsh on us. We have to deliver.”
The three consecutive PSL man of the match awards so far this season are testament to Khune’s incredible form.
But Bafana will need more than Khune’s heroics to see off the Stallions and live to fight another day.